Lenta — Talks In The Pale Morning Light
1627, Earth Season
Late in Earth Season, in the early morning of the second day at the Blue Tree [[[s02:session-54|Session 54]]]
Spoilers for Varanis
It is early in the morning. Light mist lingers in the low places, chased by first gazes of Yelm. Cooking fires have not yet been lit. Wrapped in an expensive cloak a short woman seems to talk with the horses at the corral.
Another short woman wanders up that way, munching on bits of cut apple. She shows evidence of recent wear; her clothes look slept in. They were. Her hair is as it usually is, short and slightly messy.
With a sidelong gaze Lenta notes presence of Berra and nods towards her while continuing to talk to her horse.
Berra stays back from that, but offers apple to the others, including her own – one of the largest in the herd here, and one of very few not yet starting to grow a winter coat. She is quickly robbed of all of her apple, as she stays silent, maybe listens to Lenta.
The horse gets told in Esrolian it has done well, travelling so long, while not being pampered like it is used to. It is hard to see what horse thinks of that but it seems to enjoy the attention.
Berra drifts over, pulling another apple from a pocket that hangs at her waist. “Want some for…” she check under the horse. “Her?”
Lenta looks at Berra while the horse reaches for the tidbit. “It seems she would appreciate some apple.” the Esrolian says politely.1 Berra fails insight human and fails to see that this is the polite cool tone one uses when no further discussion is wanted
Berra twists the apple in half with two hands, and holds one half out to Lenta, while hiding the other from the horse. She is looking over the herd.
Lenta nods and picks the bit of fruit delicately. “Thank you. Now watch what Berra gave you.”
Berra bites off a lump of apple to hold out to the horse, feeding it with the habit of upbringing. “Little bits, because otherwise we’ll be done too fast,” she says. “But not too little or you drop them. And if you have too many bits, you get ill. Just so you know.” She body-butts the horse’s head, sideways, gently. It’s a friendly hello, in a different body language.2 Berra passes herd
Lenta looks at Berra talking with the mare. “She does deserve some delicacies. I don’t think it has ever done as much in its life as it has done last seasons. And with less care then ever before.”
Berra looks over the horse, and says, “Legs seem strong. Have you checked her for hot spots? She doesn’t seem to be favouring anything.” Another bit of apple, another sharing of the snack.
“Her gait was quite normal. And in the evening she seemed fine. I think the kids who took her here had rubbed her dry and walked her to rest.” she looks towards the gate “I think I saw someone sitting on her back while they were doing that. She is not huge, but she is tall when compared to horses here. And less shaggy.”
“They don’t often ride – our horses aren’t for that. More for chariots and food and drink. But everyone here can, except if they don’t.” Maybe for Berra that is a good explanation. She adds, “The wyter likes them more than cows,” which might be related.
“Yes… Venlar mentioned something about running with horses, I think.” Lenta shrugs. “It does not look like horse country but the horses look like they belong here.”
“It’s better for them once you get out onto the flat, but too rocky for farming. We keep sheep as well, and the village pigs. Horses … they were here before my clan got here.” She whistles for Rode, who ignores her. “Heh.”
Lenta nods at the information.
“Lord Venlar’s happy with them, because the first time he came here he got given a horse-hair cloak. For a song he composed and sang. He’s got a really good voice.” Berra considers the half-chewed apple, and gives the horse in front of her another bite, this one rather larger.
That piece of information too is greeted with a polite nod. “I have seen him in Nochet, but I don’t think I ever heard him sing.”
“His uncle’s my High Sword. It’s weird having someone who sounds the same and looks the same, but acts completely differently.” Berra gives Lenta a glance. “Do you want me to show you around the place?”
“It would be a pleasure, Berra.” the little Esrolian assures politely.3 Lenta fails Truth, Berra continues to take politeness at facevalue
Berra gestures across the earth and cinder path. “The Temples are over there,” she starts, and quickly bites out the core of the apple to give the rest to Lenta’s horse. “I used to try to sneak into the Orlanthi compound for drinks.” The Orlanthi compound is a woven surround to hide a private area from prying eyes. Big words for a small clan.
Lenta nods at the information, not telling she has been here before.
Berra does indeed walk Lenta around, showing some competent but definitely barbarian carvings on the temple structures, telling her all about the plans for the shrine, and her failure to ever score mead as she was growing up, and then as the sound of people practicing war comes to her ears, perks up a little. “If we go out to the fields, and then back, they’ll still be there. I want to see who’s here. I recognise most of the horses, I think, from last time I was back.” She heads towards the gate. “It’s not far, and it’s been dry.”
Lenta tilts her head and looks thoughtful. Then she nods with a determined look. Without kohl she looks exposed and younger than she is.
“You can ride if you like,” Berra adds, pausing to make sure of her companion.
“You said it is not far.” She looks at her bare feet. “Any rocky going? Maybe I should put on some sandals.”
Berra shakes her head. “Nah. It shouldn’t have mud, but if anyone put down some chippings or ash, we can just go on the grass around that bit.” She smiles, pleased to be there. The gate is ajar, not yet fully open, but a few people have slipped out as Yelm struggled for rebirth.
Lenta nods and looks towards the gate.
Berra shoulders it open a little further. It complains in its mooring, but obeys, and she leans against it so that Lenta can come out. “You met Venlar already. Who else did you meet?”
“I saw Venlar and his sister already in Nochet.” Lenta answers.
“Yeah, but here, I meant. I mean, I guess you talked to him here if you knew about the horses.” Berra picked up on that detail, at least. She pads up the short rise that leads towards the road down to the field. “Our sheep are down there, or some of them,” she says with a wave downhill. “Out beyond there, the land rises again and it’s more rocky. More rocks out past the fields, too. The first fields, I mean.”
“Arianatha welcomed us, there were a bunch of kids and mothers… Yehna and Haran, Dogva with couple of warriors as retinue…” The Esrolian answers as she hops from one soft spot to another.
The rise is short, and from the top it is easy to see the first of the fields. Long strips, now cut back, beyond the rocks that make the higher unploughable. Berra smiles at it all. “My sister looks after our hides a bit further on, but this is where I always thing of the land as starting. I guess you have a lot of hides?”
Lenta answers with a polite smile “That sounds like a question of an Aunt gauging marriage prospects.”
Berra considers that for a moment, and even seems to work out a few points by listing them on her fingers. Her lips move silently for a few moments before she replies, “Would the aunt already know, and be looking for how you react?”
“I don’t think an aunt would ask me, Berra.” She considers the matter for a while with her face towards Yelm and her eyes closed. “But you are probably right. Before that was asked she would probably have a pretty good idea.”
Berra’s voice gives away embarrassment. “Sorry. I didn’t think. But you know we’ll look after you if you want, right?” She sounds awkward for a moment, also looking away, and giving Lenta time to recover, or warm herself, or whatever she is doing.
“That is quite thoughtful of you.”Lenta’s voice does not give away anything. It remains quite polite and even.
Berra says nothing for a moment. “I was thinking it would be safe for you to go back if you had a victory. Should I shut up talking?”
“If you do not want to sound stupid, perhaps?” Lenta shrugs “But it is your call I guess.”4 roll 00 on harmony
Berra considers that for a moment, and then snorts a laugh. “I know you don’t want people… no, I don’t know that. I can guess you might want to be finding your own way. You’ve done that a lot. But it doesn’t mean you can’t lean on people too, yeah?” She gives Lenta a look to check how that goes down.
“How considerate.” she is smiling but look in her eyes is icy. (muokattu)
“No. Humakti. You’re one of my people. So I want to keep you alive, and that means trying to find out your dangers.” Berra shrugs. “I don’t even know if there’s danger, but I have to guess yes, or I’m not going it right. Wanna go back and get food? It’s just more fields from out here, unless you know the people. Or you could come meet our river.”
Lenta shakes her head, turns on balls of her feet and starts walking back towards the village.
Berra waves goodbye to the fields before following. As they get back to the gate, she says, “Thanks for coming out,” a bit awkwardly.
She does not receive a reply.
Still, Berra makes sure Lenta is in view of the great house before she dashes off to watch the warriors at practice.
Berra and Lenta have an early morning discussion at Blue Tree tula. Spoilery for Varanis.